I increasingly feel like I’m in the middle of that darkly satiric Edgar Allan Poe story, The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether. In it the all-too-credulous narrator visits a mental institution where, unbeknown to him, the inmates have literally taken over the asylum – it’s the origin of the expression that we’re probably not supposed to use anymore.
I recommend reading it to see the striking parallels with wokeworld. The ‘soothing system’ employed at the institution included humouring and encouraging all the inmates’ fantasies and delusions and setting each one to guard the actions of all the others. Sound familiar?
The lunacy we bring you this week includes a fashion magazine calling for more abortions on screen in the interests of ‘representation’ while legislative protection for chicken embryos, protecting animals from hate speech and billboards in remembrance of dead chickens are on the agenda elsewhere. Plus a popular kids’ character ‘comes out’.
I don’t know about you but Gonzo has long been my favourite Muppet. I mean, what’s not to love about a furry thrill-seeker whose exploits include dancing a Fred Astaire-inspired tap routine in a vat of oatmeal and defusing a bomb while reciting the works of Shelley? And who can forget his star turn as Charles Dickens in A Muppet Christmas Carol? We always knew he was brave but it now seems that Gonzo’s woke bravery knows no bounds.
Muppet Babies, a show especially for toddlers, this week revealed Gonzo as a transgender, ballgown-wearing, glass-sneakered princess named… wait for it… Gonzorella.
The explanation from executive producer Tom Wokeburton – sorry, Warburton – is mathematically challenged and surprisingly binary in its use of pronouns:
Very early on we wanted to do an episode where Gonzo just showed up to the Playroom wearing a skirt. And it was no big deal. No one cared or questioned it because Gonzo is always 200% Gonzo 347% of the time. But then the story editor/co-producer Robyn Brown and her team wanted to take it a step further and do a Cinderella story based on the idea. And it was just SO wonderfully Gonzo. We hope he inspires kids watching to be 347% of themselves in their own way, too.
In other words, it’s never too early for a spot of children’s ‘programming’.
The movement for equitable representation on screen has been gathering pace, so much so that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this year introduced strict representation requirements tied to award eligibility; no diversity, no Oscar.
Well, move over race, sexual orientation, ethnicity and disability, they’re all SO 2020. The representation cause de jour, according to an article in fashion magazine Marie Claire, should be abortion. That’s right. These ‘acts of love’, according to writer Danielle Campoamor, are dangerously under-represented on screen. Because we wouldn’t want anyone who kills their unborn child to feel at all uncomfortable about their decision.
In the article, we learn of an organisation whose purpose is not merely to “advocate for the safe medical procedure one in four women (as well as trans men and non-binary people) will have by the time they’re 45” but is actually “dedicated to increasing the representation and visibility of people who have abortions”. It’s 2021 so why not?
Among its many memorable quotes are:
Because there are also shockingly few depictions of parents, particularly parents of color, having abortions, it reinforces this false dichotomy between people who have abortions and people who have children…
[I]t’s difficult to successfully include an abortion storyline in a show or film, especially in a way that is authentic, because most abortions are, for lack of a better word, boring. Television shows and movies depend on drama and conflict; the reality of abortion care is that most people are not conflicted about their decision…
You’ll be pleased to know that there are plans for a TV show set in an abortion clinic in order to “normalize abortion as just another choice in a wide range of decisions people make throughout their lives”.
‘I’m going to kill my unborn baby’ just slots right in there between ‘ I’ll paint my toenails red today’ and ‘perhaps I don’t really need a new computer’.
Sounds pretty boring to me. Just maybe not for the unborn child who will be dismembered and extracted from the ‘birthing parent’s’ womb.
And just for some juxtaposition I refer you to three other stories that recently came to light:
The German legislature recently passed a law forbidding the killing of six day old chick embryos since they are sensitive to pain.
The German Animal Welfare Association expressed joy at this suggestion, but criticized that this two-stage ban will not actually prohibit the killing of pain-sensitive chick embryos until 2024.
Two quackademics (or perhaps squawkademics since we’ve got a chicken theme going) recently published an article, Should We Protect Animals From Hate Speech?
We are here focusing on the core question of whether one can distinguish paradigmatic forms of hate speech — racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist, etc — from what we might call anti-animal or ‘speciesist’ hate speech.
While they don’t actually define hate speech their areas of concern include suggestions that the lives of non-native species matter less than the lives of native animals and that “great harms inflicted on animals should be tolerated or ignored for the sake of seemingly less weighty human interests” with ‘great harms’ and ‘less weighty human interests’ not defined.
Of course they conclude that:
[A]bsent a compelling argument there is no in-principle reason to support the censure of racist hate speech and not the censure of speciesist hate speech.
Bet you didn’t see that coming.
Those pets at PETA are at it again.
In honour of 50,000 birds who died when two chicken sheds in Driffield, East Yorkshire, caught fire on 2 July PETA plans to place a billboard in the area pointing out who’s ultimately responsible for their deaths; everyone who hasn’t yet gone vegan.
You knew you shouldn’t have been eating that fried chicken, right?
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